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The End Zone Seat: Tour de Shunk Returns Sunday

 

It may be a month later than usual, but the 13th annual Tour de Shunk will hit the road this Sunday, starting at Rocky’s Bicycle Shop on Rt. 414 outside Monroeton.

The ride, which raises money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, was originally scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 18.

However, the flooding that struck the area the previous week forced event director Greg White to postpone the event.

“I traveled our route and found destruction everywhere,” White wrote in a release to announce the postponement.

Since the route of the ride, which is as long as 100 miles for those cyclists opting for that distance, winds its way through some of the most heavily damaged roads in the Endless Mountains, including Sullivan and Lycoming Counties, safety and accessibility was a concern.

Less than a month later, White has proclaimed the revised route ready for the riders.

“We added a few new turns, some new hills (don’t say I didn’t warn you!), and the result is a ride that won’t soon be forgotten,” White said.

This is saying a lot when you consider the Tour de Shunk has been named “Most Challenging Century Ride” by the League of American Bicyclists in the past.

He noted that the repairs to the roads along the route have been impressive. There will be some places along the ride limited to one lane, but White noted these are lightly traveled roads that shouldn’t affect the riders. With the exception of a 30-yard dirt detour around a washed-out bridge near Proctor in Lycoming County, the riders will have hard road all the way.

One plus to the delay is the riders will get to enjoy the full glory of autumn.

“The autumn chill, the fall foliage, the incredible power of nature still visible from the floods all combine for a humbling and unique ride,” he said.

Registration for the ride begins at Rocky’s at 7:30 a.m. with the cyclists hitting the road at 9. The race-day registration fee is $30.

Riders can pedal the full 100 miles or opt for 25- or 50-mile rides.

Water and food stops will be provided along the route at the 25-, 50- and 75-mile points.

Medical personnel will be available throughout the ride and a masseuse will be at the finish for riders wanting to work out some kinks.

A spaghetti dinner for all riders and volunteers will be held afterwards.

While the weather is supposed to be nearly ideal on Sunday, if the local weathermen are to be believed, White recommends that the cyclists prepare for a chilly ride. A drop box will be available at the first rest stop for riders to deposit “excess leg warmers, etc.”

If the challenge and beauty of the ride isn’t enough to convince cyclists to take the Tour de Shunk test, the fact it is for a good cause may draw others.

Last year, 228 riders raised $8,800 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and its LIVESTRONG programs and services for those fighting cancer.

 

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